Just like in the real world if you ask participants to get a show of hands to answer a question, the first time you do it, it’s engaging. The second time is a little less and if you’re constantly doing it, it very quickly becomes tedious and people become bored. Again this is amplified online and learners will be listening less and less every time you ask them for the same type of participation. Therefore, we need to vary how we get participation and use everything that our online interface allows. This can be:
- Answering questions with a poll
- Answering questions with a yes or no in the chat
- Answering questions with a link in the chat
- Turning on their microphone and commenting on a question
- Turning on their camera and microphone and presenting to the group
- Turning on their camera and giving you a thumbs up
- Those are just a few examples of how we need to diversify our interaction to compel engagement because if the group never knows what is coming next… they have to pay more attention!
On a final note, it’s important to understand that all of these strategies, while we’re putting them in a virtual context (or live online, remote seminar, virtual education, e-learning…whatever you call it), apply just as much to the real world, in-person learning environment.